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The French Armed Forces.
Rifles Of Revolutionaries
French military vehicles and nukes
France has a pretty notable military, with a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (appropriately named the Charles de Gaulle). A conventional one is on order.
France is a nuclear weapons state. Most of its missiles are now carried by submarines, but it has some air-launched missiles and formerly had land-launched ones too.
Dassault is a world-known military aircraft company. Its most famous product is the Mirage fighter series, sold to quite a few countries worldwide. Its latest product is the somewhat stealthy Rafale, which the manufacturer states will replace seven current aircraft types in French service. Oddly, the most notable use of Dassault equipment is when the Israelis With Infrared Missiles (the IDF) brought them to bear during the Suez Crisis and Six Day War.
The AMX-56 Leclerc is France's current main battle tank, made by Nexter of France, formerly GIAT. Developed in 1991, it replaced the AMX 30 from the Cold War. The Leclerc uses non-explosive reactive armor, as opposed to the explosive reactive armor found on most tanks. It carries a 120mm smoothbore cannon that can theoretically fire any NATO standard ammunition, but typically carries French-made ammo.
Another famous piece of French military tech is the Exocet anti-shipping missile, made most famous by the Falklands War. There are air-launched, sub-launched and ship-launched versions, the missiles being widely exported. To give you an idea of its capability, HMS Sheffield was sunk by one that failed to explode.
The French military was also one of the first countries to take military action in support of the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, with French fighters being the first NATO aircraft to begin bombing Gaddafi when the UN authorized military action against his forces.
French naval officers are not called "mon capitaine", but just "capitaine", unlike the other branches.
- This is because the mon signifies monsieur (mister) rather than the possessive mon (my). It is an honorific. Napoleon, however, had little respect for the French navy, and denied them that honor.
Despite the Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys stereotype, France actually has a pretty good war record. Whether ultimately winning the Hundred Years War against England, preventing the Muslim conquest of Europe under the leadership Charles Martel, fighting and winning against large coalitions under Louis XIV, providing naval aid and essential supplies to the colonial forces during the American Revolution, defeating the rest of Europe in the French Revolutionary Wars, nearly conquering the rest of the continent in the Napoleonic Wars, or fighting toe to toe with the German Empire during World War I, France has a remarkable military history that's only taken a beating due to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 (or so), World War II and subsequent colonial defeats at the hands of countries like Algeria and Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos). It should be noted that France is the only other country besides Germany, Poland-Lithuania and the Mongol Empire to have gotten close to or captured Moscow in an invasion of Russia; the difference being they did it under the leadership of Napoleon WITHOUT TANKS, only for the Russians to burn Moscow to the ground rather than let the French take it. In the First World War, 1.5 million young French men were killed in battle. The French didn't really surrender to the Germans in World War 2 because of any lack of Badass, they did it because they were fighting the Wehrmacht and only massively superior numbers could stop that army and because of an enormous strategical mistake on the part of the French - British High Command (namely, sending most of their forces, including the best ones, to northern Belgium).
- They still had 1.8 million soldiers, all of whom were then taken prisoner. That's WAY more than enough to stage an effective resistance.
- It was actually the lack of competent generals to lead them.
- French people were simply very deeply disgusted with war since WWI. After WWI, sixty percent of all men between the age of 18 and 35 in France were either killed or permanently maimed, turning France into a "nation of old men and cripples." No wonder they didn't want to fight.
The French military in fiction
Any one joining the Foreign Legion gets a new identity and French nationality at the end of their service. If you're French to begin with, they give you a new nationality (usually Belgian or Canadian) while you're in the Legion. Historically, the Legion's promise of a new identity attracted many criminals and other shady elements; today, there are rigorous background checks, so this isn't necessarily true anymore.
The Foreign Legion is also known for its especially brutal training methods.
- In Red Storm Rising, French F-8 Crusaders (retired from US service not too long after Vietnam) operating from the carrier Foch, thanks to a diversion drawing off US Navy aircraft, are the only naval aircraft to successfully engage Soviet Backfires that sent a Macross Missile Massacre at the NATO carrier battlegroup. Unfortunately, the few bombers shot down were only lost after the missiles had hit, which not only severely damaged (possibly destroyed) the Foch, but put a hurt on several US warships, including the carrier USS Nimitz, where one of the main protagonists was located at the time.
- French tank units are involved in the fighting against the Posleen, in John Ringo's Gust Front, along with US and German tank units, holding the line until the ACS under "Mighty Mite" can break out and mangle the Posties.
- The French leadership in general tends to get looked down upon by Ringo in general, but he doesn't carry that over to their armed forces.
- The Mummy 1999 starts with main character Rick O'Connell and his back-stabbing sidekick Beni Gabor in the French Foreign Legion fighting against Arabs on a quest to find the lost ancient Egyptian city of Hamunaptra.
- Parodied in Discworld when Death joins the Klatchian Foreign Legion.
- Pepe Le Pew joins up at one point. And somehow finds a black cat ...
- In the Hoka series of books, a group of overly-imaginative alien anthropomorphic teddy bears have formed their own French Foreign Legion, and end up getting convinced by a human diplomat to travel to another planet with him to rescue his wife from a primitive alien tribe who have made her queen and are giving her many fattening meals as tribute.
- Modern Warfare 3 features a mission where an American Delta Force team links up with French GIGN special forces operators to capture a Russian bombmaker.